Ask: The Broncos didn’t start any kind of quarterback and early on chose to go with the wildcat. Agree, Disagree or Indifferent?
The main goal in the first quarter for the Broncos coaches should have been to get Kendall Hinton, who has become the practice squad quarterback, comfortable and in a certain rhythm, even if that meant an early transfer or three.
Instead, Hinton’s first snap was on third-and-3 (throwaway), his third snap was on third-and-12 (incompleteness), and his fourth snap was on third-and-9 (five-yard scramble). Not ideal.
The other nitpick let him roll out on his first pass and others everywhere. Hinton had to be kept stationary and concerned about the stride, not the footwork and stride.
Ask: The Saints did not score first until 10:19 of the second quarter. What went well early on for the Broncos’ defense?
A: Saints quarterback Taysom Hill’s first six drop-backs ended in two sacks, a three-yard scramble, one incomplete, and two- and three-yard completions. The passtorm began to reach Hill.
But starting on its third ride, New Orleans decided to take the air out of football and run it, … and run it … and run it. The Saints finished with 44 carriers, the most allowed by the Broncos since last year (Buffalo 49 carriers).
On their first scoring run, the Saints ran the last 10 plays (53 yards in total). They did it using two-tight end or tight end / sixth offensive lineman staff and ran to the Broncos nickel front, which has one less defensive lineman on the field.
The Saints won 4, 14, 1, 5, 5, 2, 6 and 1 yards, except for the first game against the Broncos’ nickel pack.
Ask: The Broncos have made three more sales, bringing their season total to a whopping 26. What happened to those plays?
A: Fumble center Lloyd Cushenberry’s rapid decline Phillip Lindsay late in the second quarter was low and went through Lindsay’s legs. The Saints recovered when Lindsay tried to pick it up instead of falling on it. New Orleans started with the Broncos ’13 and quickly made it 14-0.
Interception – two plays of scrimmage later, on second and 8 from 27, was the last turning point. Hinton had good protection against the Saints’ four-man rush (threw in 3.28 seconds) and undershot receiver DaeSean Hamilton. Janoris Jenkins brought it back to the Broncos ’41 and the Saints added a field goal for a 17-0 lead. Ball game.
Interception – on the opening run of the third quarter, Hinton faced the second and 10 of his 44. This was a young guy trying to play. Hinton rolled to the right and with two rushers following behind, he threw his back foot and shot Troy Fumagalli past.
Ask: Lindsay (knee) and cornerback Bryce Callahan (ankle) were unable to finish the match. Reasons for concern?
A: Yes, yes, a hundred times yes.
Lindsay was grinding yards when he sustained his third injury of the season after a week 1 peat toe and a week 7 concussion.
Callahan’s absence would be huge, as he is arguably the Broncos’ best cornerback. As he left, rookie Michael Ojemudia, who was sitting on the bench after the game in Atlanta for poor tackling, joined AJ Bouye and rookie Essang Bassey on the field.
Playing Kansas City on Sunday night minus Callahan should be a scary thought for the Broncos.